based on my own opinion. Boxing is easier to pick for me because the sport has been around longer. I did not start choosing MMA fighters until 1993 when Pancrase and UFC tournaments began. Otherwise would have been really hard to determine.
So here it is, feel free to post your own opinion and nit pick.
1. Sugar Ray Robinson - this isnt hard, if anyone tells you different kick them in the nuts. This man's prime consisted of a welterweight stretch of 125-1-1. That one loss was to Jake LaMotta, Ray fought the Raging Bull in a rematch 21 days later and won a unanimous decision. In between te rematch Robinson fought California Jackie WIlson a club fighter. Thats 3 fights in 21 days. He is the best welterweight ever hands down. After he couldnt make the weight anymore (147) he moved to Middleweight were he won the title 5 times while he was in his 30's(when there was only 1 middle weight title, we arent talking WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO days). He also nearly won the middleweight title, passing out before the 15th round (it was over 100 degrees in the ring.) . Final record was 173-19-6 and 108 KOs. He fought 12 Hall of Famers in a total of 28 fights. Jake LaMotta 6 time,Gene Fullmer 3 times, Carmen Basilio 2 times, Randy Turpin 2 times, Fritzie Zivic 2 times, Sammy Angott 3 times, Kid Gavilan 2 times, Henry Armstrong 1 time, Bobo Olson 4 times,Joey Maxim 1 time, Rocky Graziano 1 time, Joey Giardello 1 time.
2. Henry Armstrong - This guy did something that will never ever come close to being accomplished in combat sports ever again. When there were only 8 titles and divisions in boxing. Henry Armstrong Consecutively held the Featherweight, Lightweight, and welterweight title. To make things even crazier he jumped from featherweight (128) to welterweight (147) and then jumped down to lightweight (135). He did all of this in a year and a half time span. Oh ya he also defended his welterweight title 21 times from 1938 to 1940 he also won 3 more non title fights at welterweight. Armstrong also lost a controversial draw to the middleweight champion Cefernio Garcia in a fight that nearly everyone thought Armstrong won. At the same time Henry Armstrong held 3 of the 8 titles in boxing and nearly won a 4th. While Ray Robinson was the perfect technical boxer, Armstrong was the whirling dervish that put his head in your chest and just swung non stop. He was nicknamed Perpetual motion and Homicide Hank, also Hammerin Hank for a reason. Beat multiple greats like Petey Sarron, Lou Ambers and Barney Ross and Fritzie Zivic amongst many other greats. Retired with a 150-21-10 record (101 knockouts).
3. Joe Louis - the man was the heavyweight champion of the world for 12 years, he defended the title 25 times. Think about that. This belief that he was fighting bums is false, he beat numerous great fighters in Max Baer, Max Schmelling, James Braddock, Jersey Joe Walcott, Billy Conn, Jack Sharkey and Ezzard Charles to name a few. Joe Louis was probably the smartest boxer there ever was, you could be beating him for 10 rounds, but then he would see something, something that you did, he would go back to his corner and wait till he saw it again and then it was all over. Retired with a record of 66-3 with 52 knockouts.
4. Jack Johnson - Heavyweight Champion for 7 years, proved himself by beating the Black Murderers Row of the time (men that would never be allowed to fight for the title) of Sam McVey, Sam Langford and Denver Ed Smith, he fought them a combined over 15 times. When it was clear he was the legit challenger to the title Tommy Burns (the champion avoided him like the plague before finally accepting the challenge. Johnson destryoed Burns in one of the most one sided title fights ever. Burns is credited with creating the saying , "I'll do .....or my name isn't." He said I'll whip that N word or my name isnt Tommy Burns. Interestingly enough TOmmy Burns wasnt his real name (he had changed it as many immigrants did). Johnson went on to defend the title against Stanley Ketchel in a war of a bout before facing Jim Jeffries the retired former undefeated undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Jeffries was the great white hope if there ever was one. Johnson absolutely dominated him, controlling the clinch before knocking Jeffries out in the 14th. Easily the greatest defensive heavyweight champion ever. Went on to hold the title for 7 years before losing to Jess Willard. Fought in front of the most hostile crowds in combat sports history, imagine 20,000 chanting "kill the N word" thats what Johnson put up with when he fought in the states as champion. Eventually the US government charged him with violating the Mann Act, a law to stop prostitution going across state lines. THe law was loosely worded and stated a man could be arrested if traveling with a woman across state lines for immoral purposes. Johnson was arrested for crossing state lines with his white wife. That was immoral enough for them. Johnson once said, "Im black, they will never let me forget it; Im black, I will never let them forget it." After Johnson's reign an african american wouldnt be allowed to challenge for the title in 30 years. Johnson won the title in 1907, Joe Louis would challenge in 1937.
5. Muhammad Ali - There were two versions of Ali, the one that floated around the ring and danced firing humming jabs and straights and then there was the latter Ali who stayed flat on his feet and would bang with you. I honestly dont know which was better (young Ali beat Liston, Floyd Patterson, Zora Folley) while the other version held wins over Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and George Foreman amongst others. Basically he was nearly as good as it gets. He could dance, he could fight on the inside, he was smart. First person to hold the heavyweight title 3 times.
6. Harry Greb - Simply put, Harry Greb was a wild man in the ring, he was one of the best if not the best Middleweight champion of all time and he fought like a man possessed. Add in that he would challenge Heavyweights and beat them (Greb was the only person that heavyweight champion Gene Tunney lost a fight to). Defeated greats like Tunney, Tommy Loughran, Mickey Walker, Tiger Flowers, Kid Norfolk and Gunboat Smith (heavyweight contender). Unfortunaltely Grebs life was cut short when he died from complications during an eye surgery. At the time of his death Greb's official record was 104-8-3, that stated he also had a 147 newspaper decisions that were not counted to his record.
7. Willie Pep- the Will O' the Wisp, this guy was something else, you could hardly hit him or avoid being tagged by him. After he defeated Chalky Wright for the featherweight title he held the belt for 6 years before losing to Sandy Saddler in a war. He then won the title back from Saddler before losing the title to Saddler again. It should be noted that by the time the Saddler fights happened Pep had begun slipping. When Pep lost the title to Saddler for the second time, Peps record was 152-2-1. He retired with an amazing 229-11-1 record.
8. Benny Leonard - This guy was just a warrior, simply put, he served in WW1 and WW2 and held the light lightweight title from 1917 to 1925 and was one of the first boxers to really talk trash in the ring to their opponents. Lost 3 fights early in his career before going on a terror. Beat great fighteers like Lew Tembers, Ted Kid Lewis, Johnny Kilbaine and Johnny Dundee. Nicknamed the "Ghetto Wizard". Retired as champion in 1925 but lost everything in the great stock market crash, forced to come out of retirement and take a beating from Jimmy McLarnin in 1931. Retired with a record of 90-6-1 (he also had 93 newspaper decision victories.)
9. Archie Moore - How good was Archie Moore? he was basically avoided like the plague even while in his 30's. He is the founder of training at Big Bear and the first to use the shell defense (think Mayweather) that is how he got the nickname the "Old Mongoose". When he was finally given the chance to fight for the Light Heavyweight title against Joey Maxim he was already in his 30's. He won the title and held it for 10 years. Easily the greatest light heavyweight ever. Also, holds the record for most knockouts in boxing history. His come from behind victory of Yvonne Durrell is still amazing. Retired with a record of 185-23-10 with 138 KO's. Made his last succesful title defense at the age of 47.
10. Sam Langford - Langford had the bad luck of fighting in the era when black fighters simply couldnt challenge for the title. He made his name winning smoker battle royals (5 to 10 african americans blind folded in a ring, last man standing wins). Was forced to fight Harry Wills (another amazing fighter) a record 23 times. He also fought Sam McVey (15 times), Joe Jeaneatte (14 times0 and Jack Johnson continuously. Was also was the last man to participate in a "fight to the finish match" in 1923 against Jim Savage in Mexico City. Retired with a record of 180-23-40 and was never allowed to challenge for the title. Died blind and broke.
MMA Top 10
1. Fedor - Sorry Dana but you dont go undefeated for 10 years and not get the top spot. Add in the impressive victories in Pride over Big Nog, Semmy Schilt, Kaz Fujita, Heath Herring, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Cro Cop, and add in the wins over Arlovski and Timmy Sylvia, it really isnt that hard of a conclusion to reach. When he was in his prime he used his submissions much more effectively, I feel he became to in love with his fists, but when Fedor was on, no one was beating him. Ask Kevin Randleman.
2. Royce Gracie- I expect a lot of backlash, but hear me out. He won 3 open weight tournaments including a 16 man tournament. Pound for pound, Royce was the best fighter in the world from 1993 to 1995, add in the fact that he was 170 pounds in these open weight tournaments. Run consisted of going 11-0-1 with wins over Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Kimo, Gerard Gordeau, Pat Smith, Jason DeLucia and Keith Hackney. Before everyone yells that the era was different, youneed to realize that the men I just listed were some of the best in the world (Shamrock, Severn) and the others were able contenders (Kimo, Gordeau, Smith). Bashme but this is where I rank the man.
3. Anderson Silva - There is only one other fighter that had an effective run like Anderson Silva in the UFC and that man is listed above Anderson. Whether he was destroying RIch Franklin, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort or Forrest Griffin it really made no difference. Even when he faced adversity vs Chael Soenenn he managed to pull out a win (much like Royce vs Severn 1). Dont know how much he has left in the tank but he may be ranked number 1 by the time he retires.
4. Frank Shamrock - Wins over Bas Rutten, Tito Ortiz, Kevin Jackson (most decorated wrestler in mma history), Enson Inoue, Masakatsu Funaki, Minori Suzuki, Jeremy Horn and Yamada. Former King of Pancrase and UFC Middleweight champion (later changed to Light Heavyweight). Personally I think he would have held the title for a very long time after defending the belt 4 times before leaving the UFC over contract issues (they couldnt pay what they were obligated, he was released got to claim lack of competition and everyone saves face). The first true mixed amrtial artists, had a ground game, great stand up and really blended it all together better than anybody ever had before him.
5. Randy Couture - Maybe a little to low, say he is top 5 (anywhere) and you will here no gripe from me. 3 time heavyweight champion and 2 time light heavyweight champion, thats all I have to say about that. Ok I'll keep going, wins over Maurice Smith, Vitor Belfort, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Pedro Rizzo, Tim Sylvia, Big Nog and Kevin Randleman. Probablythe best at implementing a game plan in the history of the sport.
6. Bas Rutten - After Bas got over the Shamrock hump (3 of his 4 losses are to Shamrocks) he never looked back. Finally implementing enough of a ground game to survive while there and get back to kicking ass standing. After losing to Ken for a 2nd time Bas went on a 21 fight unbeaten streak with wins over Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger, Maurice Smith, Masakatsu Funaki, Minori Suzuki, Kevin Randleman, Jason DeLucia and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Became King of Pancrase and UFC Heavyweight Champion before injuries derailed his career.
7. GSP - this is about where GSP fits in (imo), has had 2 title reigns and 1 of them has been very dominant. Wins over Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch and Matt Serra amongst others. Personally I think he is like Ali (2 types of fighting styes in career) he is clearly not the amazing stand up wizard we used to see but has now become an effective grinder that simply finds ways to win and control the match.
8. Wanderlei Silva - His run in Pride was epic, doesnt get much more brutal than that. Yes he lost to Tito and Vitor before going there but once he got there it was amazing. Wins over Rampage Jackson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Guy Mezger, Dan Henderson,RicardoArona and Yuki Kondo. Had a 4 year stretch where he was virtually unstoppable. Also competed against much bigger men like Mirco Cro Cop.
9. Matt Hughes - One of the best welterweight fighters that there has ever been. Simply put he was a great wrestler and could do other things well, big wins over GSP, BJ Penn, Royce Gracie, Hayato Sakurai, Sean Sherk and Carlos Newton shows you how dominant he was in his prime.
10. Ken Shamrock - let the mud slinging begin. From 1993 to 1996 Ken Shamrock was either the consecutive number 1 or number 2 fighter in the sport. Went 22-5-2 during that time period and if there had been judges he would have easily won those 2 draws. Making him 24-5 in the period. Was the first King of Pancrase and the first UFC SuperFight Champion. During that time period alone he had wins over Bas Rutten, Dan Severn, Masakatsu Funaki, Maurice Smith, Manabu Yamada, Kimo and Brian Johnson. Add in the "draws" against Royce Gracie (a fight Ken clearly won) and Oleg Taktarov (same) and you can clearly state that Ken beat the 5 best fighters of his era. Bas Rutten (twice), Royce Gracie, Oleg Taktarov, Masakatsu Funaki and Dan Severn. His record against those 5 men was 5-3-2, move those clear draw victories over and he went 7-3 with 1 loss to Severn, 1 to Royce and one to Funaki. Im sure I will take heat for this but I stand by my opinion (how noble of me !)
Whats yall's take?